Another inspiring story that you'd love to read...
“Now, my painting hangs in the wall of the People's Palace (Malacañang Palace). Who would have thought of a boy, just sewing fishing nets by the port, skin burnt by the sun would later be a part of Philippine History? His artwork hanging beside the works of Fernando Amorsolo and other national artists. Thank you Mayor/Tatay/President for appreciating my gift to you. We love you.”This is part of the heartfelt message posted by a then fisherman’s son turned to a Presidential portrait artist, Macky Bongbong in Facebook that has caught the attention of many.
On his post, he entailed his humble beginnings.
In the 90s I grew up familiarizing the types of fish I see in the ocean of Jolo Sulu. At a young age, I would join the 'Hulbot hulbot' (fishing boat) with the adults to fish in the sea for weeks. I was raised near the shores of Sangali, Zamboanga City. My late father Alberto Bongabong was a very hardworking papa. He would teach me how to sew nylon fishing nets that later became my part time job during high school. Saturdays and Sundays were my bonding time with him as we would sit together near the port and sew as many nets as we can. In the evening, I would rush home after a busy day to join my mama in prayer exactly every six o'clock.
My youth was very colorful I can say at least. Growing up in the environment of survival, I strived for creativity. I have almost joined every art competition in school and would always aspire to join bigger ones outside our town, but money was hard to come by even just for a bus ride. It wasn't always sweet. I failed in so many competitions many times. Nevertheless, in all the times that I won, I would give all the cash prize to my mother. It was a habit, or should I say instinctual, so I can help provide for food.
After my mom passed away in 1999 we moved to Pagadian City where I continued high school studies. Finally, during my 4th year, I won as a champion in the National Poster Making Contest by the Philippine Association of Water District held in Bacolod city 2003. It was my greatest achievement that time. I remembered I jumped from my seat after they declared that I won! but I cried later knowing that I could not give the cash prize to my mama Evelyn anymore. That time, 30,000 pesos was of great value. She would have been very proud.
It has been spread around our town that Davao City is a very safe place. Eventually, I found myself riding a bus going to Davao. Not knowing anyone in the city I spent my first night sleeping on the sidewalk of Uyanguren (Magsaysay St.). It was my first experience of a peaceful sleep on the street.His story is an inspiration to many and has proved that nothing is impossible when you believe and hold on to your dreams.
Davao city is indeed a beautiful and peaceful place to live in. I said to myself, "this will be my home until I'm old" Still, I needed work to survive. I believe you will find a way if you really wanted to. I started to do portrait art commissions and many Dabawenyos started to appreciate my artworks but it wasn't always a smooth road after that. I had to go through a lot of ups and downs in the process. There were times customers would return my painting and get a refund because I didn't get the exact likeness of their photos. I learned to humble myself and accept correction. I spent days and nights practicing.
I started dreaming of having a small shop inside the mall. Little by little, from one client and to another, I saved money and was finally able to afford a 1x3.5 meters space inside Victoria plaza beside Kodak. I started my shop in January 2013 and expanded by March that same year, but this time, inside a prestige mall, Abreeza.
Earlier this year, someone passed by my shop and gave a small piece of paper to my assistant. When I read it, it says, "The Office Of The President of the Philippines Manila" My eyes widened and my heart started to beat faster.
We must not look at how small we are or how little we have but how big God is and how beautiful His plans are for us.